Yuna Kim and Son Yeon Jae, two famous Korean athletes, are having drastically different experiences in the midst of the Korean Presidential scandal that is consuming the nation.
Choi Soon Sil and President Park Geun Hye's corruption scandal is having a huge impact, not only in the political realm but also in the entertainment and sports industries. The reason why Choi Soon Sil was able to reach those two fields is because of Jang Shi Ho and MV director Cha Eun Taek.
Jang Shi Ho is Choi Soon Sil's niece who has abused her aunt's power in the world of sports. Along with Jang, Cha Eun Taek is also known as someone who has had a big influence in the industry. Among many things Cha is being accused of, one that stands out is the 'Neul Poom Exercise' that Cha created with the government's money.
With the recent revelations of the corrupt influence over the Korean sports world, the public is taking note of the fact that Yuna Kim refused to participate in the 'Neul Poom Exercise' demonstration event; Son Yeon Jae, one the other hand, attended the event and stood next to President Park.
KBS reported on November 19, "Testimonies of Yuna Kim receiving damages and disadvantages from [Choi Soon Sil]'s influence have come out...Yuna Kim rejected the invitation to demonstrate 'Neul Poom Exercise.' And because of this, she became a target of the government disapproval."
Yuna Kim's staff had cited her busy schedule for a reason to turn down the invitation. The staff explained, "We were verbally invited to the event [back in 2014], but we had to work for Pyeongchang Olympics and Youth Olympics promotions, so we turned it down."
The problem started here. By not promoting 'Neul Poom Exercise', Yuna Kim was excluded from the '2015 Sports Heroes' list that the Korean Sports Committee selected, even though she received 82.3% of the popular votes from the 12 candidates. When the vote results came in, the committee disqualified Yuna Kim, saying that they now had a new age limit rule. Because this process did not make a lot of sense, there were some debates and skepticism even back then.
On the other hand, Son Yeon Jae attended the demonstration event for the controversial 'Neul Poom Exercise' back in November of 2014. A Son Yeon Jae staff member stated, "We got invited to the event through the Korea Gymnastics Committee...We did not have a reason to refuse."
Because the corruption scandal's national scale, there are many speculations and rumors. Some speculate that Son Yeon Jae received unfair benefits because she attended the exercise demonstration whereas Yuna Kim refused.
For one, Son Yeon Jae received The Korean Sports Committee's 'Best' and 'Grand' awards three years in a row. The problem is that traditionally, only Olympic gold medalists have won these 'Grand' awards. In fact, in the last 10 years, the recipient has always been a gold-medalist. Son Yeon Jae did have accomplishments -- she won many prizes and ranked in other Asian and Universiade competitions. However, Son Yeon Jae ranked 5th place in the 2012 London Olympics and 4th place in the 2016 Rio Olympics. On the other hand, Yuna Kim has won both gold and silver medals in the Olympics since 2010.
Because of these suspicious circumstances, Son Yeon Jae's website and her agency's website were temporary down due to many netizens writing to express their concerns and demanding them to explain themselves.